If you’re one of those types who always has a soda in your hand, you may want to drink something else instead. New research suggests downing a lot of soft drinks could increase your risk of getting asthma and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

In the study, nearly 17,000 people aged 16 and older in South Australia were asked about their consumption of soft drinks like Coke, flavored mineral water, lemonade, Powerade and Gatorade. More than 10 percent of the participants said they drank more than half a liter — roughly two 8-ounce glasses — of soft drinks every day.

Researchers found that 13.3 percent of the participants with asthma and 15.6 percent of those with COPD consumed more than half a liter of daily soft drinks. Those who drank that much were 1.2 times more likely to have asthma and 1.7 times more likely to have COPD.

But while the study points out an association, it doesn’t establish a cause-and-effect relationship. Other habits, like smoking, compounded the risk even more — people who smoked and consumed more than half a liter of soft drinks a day had a 6.6 times greater risk of COPD than those who didn’t indulge in either practice.

In a news release, research leader Dr. Zumin Shi of the University of Adelaide said, “Our study emphasizes the importance of healthy eating and drinking in the prevention of chronic diseases like asthma and COPD.”

The work was published in the February issue of Respirology.

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